For the past four months you've been eating, sleeping and breathing volleyball. The long practices, tiring games and overall drain on your energy and emotions can produce volleyball burnout right before the most important part of the season--playoffs.
Here are four ways to avoid burnout and go into the post-season feeling strong and healthy:
Volleyball Burnout Tip No.1: Get a Life
Make time once a week to go somewhere that has nothing to do with sports, much less volleyball. Watch some live music at a caf?; volunteer at a food kitchen; wander around a Farmers Market--go anywhere the term "volleyball" would elicit blank stares and expressions of disinterest.
Don't talk or think about school or volleyball, just enjoy your activity and give yourself a mental break. You'll walk away feeling refreshed and relaxed, as if someone took a Swiffer to your brain.
Volleyball Burnout Tip No.2: Update Your iPod
Spend $40 on new songs and create a playlist in your iPod called "Sanity". Pop in those earbuds on road trips or in the locker room before practice and tune everything else out.
It will help you focus on your game, as well as distract you from the fact that half your teammates' voices sound like nails on a chalkboard.
Volleyball Burnout Tip No.3: Eat Healthy
Now more than ever your body needs its protein, vitamins and electrolytes. Accelerate past the siren's call of the fast food drive-thru and motor your way to a bona-fide grocery store.
Unless you have a refined palate, keep it simple and try to have: fruit or oatmeal every morning, a sandwich for lunch and pasta with meat or fish for dinner. Throw in a daily acai bowl as a treat for your tastebuds with mega antioxidant power.
Volleyball Burnout Tip No.4: Stay Positive
Regardless of whether you are undefeated or winless, it's easy to be negative about something. Pay attention to how your energy is affecting your attitude and make an effort to be positive.
Avoid getting dragged down with petty team politics and inter-fighting. Negativity is a black hole for energy and you don't have enough to spare if you want to finish the season on top of your game.
Every athlete faces the challenge of staying motivated and fresh at least once in their career, if not once every season. Take proactive steps to shake free from the routines or attitudes that leave you jaded and burnt out.
If you do it right, you will be able to finish the season and still remember why you love playing volleyball.